What Mexican Beach Vendors Can Teach You About Business, Dating, and Time Management

I was at the beach in beautiful Sayulita a couple weeks ago, and two vendors kept approaching me. One was selling hammocks and the other was renting umbrellas. Which do you think was doing more business?

The hammock seems like a much better value, right? Wouldn’t it be stupid to rent the umbrella when you can have the hammock for life?

Wrong. A hammock is useless without two trees to hang it between. So hammock-man isn’t selling me rest and relaxation. He’s selling me a project. But I’m not at the hobby store. I’m at the beach. I want to relax, and hammock-man is selling an incomplete experience.

Umbrella-man, on the other hand, not only puts up the umbrella for you, making sure to dig a deep enough hole so the umbrella doesn’t blow away, but he also adjusts it as the sun changes position and takes it down for you at the end of the day. That’s one less thing you have to deal with when you’re ready to go home. That is a complete experience!

So, what can we learn from this?

It’s often better to rent a complete experience than to buy a incomplete experience. I haven’t owned a car in years because I don’t particularly like driving and I don’t need the hassle of looking for parking and dealing with insurance and other maintenance costs. But keep in mind when comparing the difference in costs between two options, that you have to consider not just the monetary costs but also the impact on your time and your sanity. There’s a laundromat in my neighborhood that charges me double what all the others charge, but they pick up and drop off my laundry, and they do it in about 5 hours, while the others take at least a day. That is a complete experience, and I’m happy to pay for it because it saves me time and energy and the stress of worrying about whether or not I’m going to have clean sheets on my bed tonight.

If you’re a business, are you providing your customers with the complete experience?¬†You’re not selling a product, you’re selling the experience that that product provides. It’s not that hard to segment your market, providing some customers with the complete experience (assembly, delivery, etc) and giving others the minimum. The laundromat I mentioned above has some customers who do their own laundry, and then other customers (like me) who are willing to pay for the complete experience.

Are you giving the people you date the complete experience? And I don’t just mean satisfying them sexually, though of course you should be doing that. Are you stimulating them intellectually and emotionally as well? Are you just assuming “I’m hot and good in bed, therefore women are going to love me” but you’re not really that interesting or fun outside of bed? Well then you’re providing an incomplete experience. Maybe some women will be okay with that. But most of them want the complete experience.

Stay sexy, my friends.